This Week In Japan #29 (October 23rd, 2020)

A journalist sues a politician over liked Tweets, Thomas the Tank Engine introduces a new bullet train character Kenji, and more big news stories!

October 24, 2020

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Hosts of This Week In Japan

Julian Domanski

Born in England, Julian is a writer, videographer & musician living in Tokyo. When he’s not drinking copious amounts of English Tea, he can be found studying Japanese or trying to master the surprisingly complex basics of the Jiuta Shamisen.

Yasuharu Matsuno

Founder of Japan Insider (Former Ryu Tokyo). Japanese-born entrepreneur. Yasu spent his life around the globe – Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, Australia, and the U.S. He hopes he had more time to play Japanese RPGs. MBA from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Journalist Sues Japanese Politician For Liking Tweets That Criticized Her

Journalist Shiori Ito is hoping to bring attention to second rape victims who often face emotional pains after a sexual assault. Image sourced from https://www.huffingtonpost.jp

This Wednesday, the court trial began for Shiori Ito, a Japanese journalist who has filed charges against Mio Sugita, a house member of the Liberal Democratic Party. Sugita is being sued for 2.2 million Yen in damages after she liked several tweets criticizing Ito. This is the first case of its kind where the matter of liking a Tweet will be considered a possible offense under certain circumstances.

The politician liked several Tweets that referred to an incident that occured in June 2018, where Shiori Ito was forced to commit sexual acts by a former well-known journalist at TBS, one of Japans major TV Stations. The Tweets that were liked referred to Miss Ito quite harshly saying she “failed, in sleeping her way to the top,” “trying to bring down Japan,” and “a traitor who was turned by money.” Furthermore, Sugita also liked many Tweets that simply insulted her. 

In regards as to whether or not a person can be held responsible for their likes, Ito said the following: “I am facing this case head on in order for victims like us of second rape to be able to clearly say no to our oppressors.” Second rape refers to the emotional trauma and pain suffered by rape victims afterwards. Ito continued on her reasoning by saying, “Due to Sugita’s likes, I am fearful of a rise in violent and critical words from third parties.”

Thomas the Tank Engine Introduces New Bullet Train Character Named Kenji 

Kenji’s design is based off of a 0-series Shinkansen.

The beloved children’s show “Thomas the Tank Engine,” is getting a new edition to its cast. It was announced this Tuesday that Kenji, a train based on a 0-series bullet train, will be joining the cast of Thomas The Tank Engine in an all new theatrical cut of Kenji’s four-episode arc.

The movie is planning to be released in spring of 2021 and will go by Kikansha Thomas Oide Yo! Mirai no Hatsumei Show! or “Thomas the Tank Engine: Come one, come all! To the Future Inventions Show!” The story will center around Thomas and friends checking out the newest technology at the Sodor Technology Fair, where Kenji’s impressive electrical power is sure to take the spotlight.

The bullet train Kenji garnered immediate attention in Japan, with many tweets praising him with lines such as, “He’s powered by Japanese Spirit,” and numerous comments referring to him being handsome. Of course, many memes are also being made at Kenji’s expense. Photoshopping different faces onto the train and jokes about trains lines, such as most bullet trains being named after girl names, are just some of the results of Kenji’s appearance. As of now, the original announcement Tweet has received over 40 thousand likes.

Japan Prepares to Intercept Cyber Attacks for Olympics

Cyber attacks suspected at obtaining private information on the Tokyo Olympics were made known to the public last week.

Despite being postponed until next year, it was revealed this Monday that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have recently come under attack from cyber terrorist groups.

The United States and Britain made the announcement that Russian military intelligence had attempted several attacks across the world, including ones aimed at the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Word was not given on the effectiveness of the attacks, but Olympic Games organizers, sponsors, and even logistics suppliers were targeted. Japanese Chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato told the media that Japan is working closely with the U.S. and Britain to analyze the situation.

Russia, who has been banned from major sporting events for four years over serious and continued doping offenses, is also banned from the 2020 Games. This is just one of many alleged cyber attacks from the Russian government involving international sports organizations. The attacks were recognized to begin after Russia’s doping scandal became international news around 5 years ago. However, Moscow continues to deny the allegations. 

A spokesman for the International Olympic Committee spoke about the importance of cybersecurity for the games, saying, “The IOC and the organizing committees of the Olympic Games have identified cyber security as a priority area and invest a lot to offer the Olympic Games the best cyber security environment possible.”

Foreigners Arrested for Selling Sweets on the Street

The mysterious snacks were thought to be a Philippine treat with sweet marshmallows mixed in with a macha-like flavoring. Image sourced from https://www.ktv.jp.

A new, strange sight is starting to be seen in the cities of Japan. Foreign women selling mysterious sweets to passersby on the street. When asked by a news team, one woman quickly hides the sweets and says it is nothing. 

If you are able to obtain one of these mysterious sweets, you may find a brown ball with a green substance inside. According to one happy customer, it is a delicious macha-like sweet with marshmallows inside. According to her, it was so good she had to tell her family about it. Details of these street vendors are still to be confirmed, but the snack seems to originate from the Philippines. 

Although, the reality of these foreign vendors may not be as sweet as their snacks. One young girl selling sweets was handing out a hand-written note that read, “I am an exchange student. Corona Virus. Cannot find a job. I am selling this to pay for my bills and school fees.” It is a problem many foreigners in Japan are facing at the moment. A lack of jobs for immigrants and numerous legal restrictions such as legal permission to sell in a public area can make obtaining a livable wage difficult. Selling food without a permit is also a violation of the Food Sanitation Law. While it provides a means to vital funds, these sweets-selling vendors may soon be forced to stop selling their specialties.

Christian Dakin

Christian Dakin is an editor, designer, and video game director currently based out of Tokyo, Japan. Originally from a small town in Georgia, he studied in Japan for a year in college before returning again for work. Christian enjoys studying Japanese and the outdoors. In his off time, he is most likely to be found adventuring to a castle, belting it out in karaoke with friends, or in a gym somewhere.

More articles by Christian Dakin

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